“In 1978 Pulau Sudong and Pulau Seking were the only two islands left in the Southern Island group of the Singapore archipelago to have an original population living in characteristic Malay settlement: the kampong. The other islands in the immediate and more distant vicinity of Pulau Sudong were, in the late sixties, converted into tourist resorts and industrial sites.
“Early in 1977, reclamation work began on Pulau Sudong. Sand was pumped onto the shallows around the island which is enclosed by a rock bund built to retain the island. During the period of fieldwork, reclamation was almost complete and the size of the island has been enlarged 12.5 times. Three quarters of the island is surrounded by mounds of sand, in some places, completely submerging the stilts of the kampong houses standing by the edge of the sea.
“The island of Pulau Sudong is part of sand spit surrounded by a fringe of coral reefs exposed in part during ebb tide; the rest of the reef remains under very shallow water. Marine erosion caused by daily reversals in the direction of the current, and gale force winds from the west during windy season have given the island the shape of a lobster claw; sand is deposited on the western end of the island, forming two sand spits enclosing the mangrove tidal inlet.
“There is no fresh water on the island. The wells give brackish water and were in any case used only for washing. They are no longer used. Drinking water is brought to the island from Singapore by waterboat and stored in a large concrete tank...In the past, drinking water was taken from Pulau Pawai and until today, some villagers prefer to get water from the turnpipes on Pulau Bukom, especially if the queue at the village water tank is too long.” – Chew Soo Beng, Fishermen in Flats (1982)